Graph of TTR over time

At a national level, inflation-adjusted total taxable resources (TTR) per capita have increased in 27 years since 1980, reaching an all-time high in 2018 of $70,702 per capita ($23.1 trillion total). This is the first time in which TTR has surpassed $70,000 per capita. TTR per capita previously declined during past recessions (1981-1982, 1990-1991, 2001-2002, 2008-2009); however, TTR also declined outside of an economic recession in 2013, 2014, and 2016.

Graph of ATR over time

Inflation-adjusted actual tax revenue (ATR) per capita has increased in 31 years since 1980, also reaching an all-time high in 2018 of $5,371 per capita ($1.75 trillion) up from $2,993 per capita ($678.1 billion) in 1980. Like TTR, ATR per capita previously declined during economic recessions in 1981, 1991, 2002-2003, and 2008-2010.

Graph of tax rate over time

In 2018, the national effective tax rate was 7.6%, which is just below the average effective tax rate since 1980 (7.7%). This suggests state and local governments are collecting a share of income flows through their tax systems that is in line with what they have collected over the last few decades. Between 1980 and 1995, the effective tax rate steadily increased from 6.9% to 8.2% and has fluctuated between 7.4-8.2% ever since.

State Comparisons

Table 1 shows the total taxable resources, actual state and local tax revenues and the effective tax rate in 2018 for each state. Total taxable resources, an indicator of a state’s tax base, vary extensively by state.

  • TTR per capita ranged from $44,031 in Mississippi to $96,986 in Connecticut.
  • In addition to Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York also had TTR above $90,000 per capita.
  • Other than Mississippi, West Virginia was the only other state with TTR below $50,000 per capita.

States with greater TTR per capita have larger tax bases from which they can draw revenue to fund public services. In general, states with higher TTR per capita tend to collect a larger amount in actual tax revenue per capita.

  • Actual tax revenue per capita ranged from $3,286 in Tennessee to $9,823 in New York.
  • Most states with high tax capacity (TTR) also had an above-average ATR in 2018. However, six states (Alaska, Colorado, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Wyoming) had above-average TTR but collected less than average ATR. Of these states with higher tax capacity, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Virginia allocated less than the average amount of education appropriations per FTE in 2018. 6 6Education appropriations measure state and local support for public higher education operating expenses and exclude research, hospitals, and medical education. Unlike in the main SHEF report, education appropriations per FTE in this report are not adjusted for enrollment mix or cost of living differences across states. VIEW ALL FOOTNOTES
  • Five states (Hawaii, Maine, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont) had below-average TTR but collected above-average ATR, indicating an above-average effective tax rate. Of these states, only Hawaii and Maine allocated above-average education appropriations per FTE in 2018.

State Spotlight : Colorado

CO

Colorado allocated the fourth lowest amount in education appropriations per FTE in 2018 despite having an above average tax base. This suggests Colorado may have the capacity to increase higher education support through additional tax revenue; however, actually increasing revenue may be very difficult due to budget institutions and voter preferences. Colorado has one of the most restrictive tax and expenditure limitations in the nation. Passed as a constitutional amendment in 1992, the taxpayer bill of rights (TABOR) places limits on the amount of tax revenue the state can collect and allocate. 7 7James, F. J., & Wallis, A. (2004). Tax and spending limits in Colorado. Public Budgeting & Finance, 24(4), 16-33. VIEW ALL FOOTNOTES While these limits have been gradually weakened, TABOR also requires voter approval for tax increases. Voter preferences appear to favor lower state taxes, as Colorado voters passed Proposition 116 in 2020 that will lower the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%. 8 8Hindi, S. (2020, November 3). Colorado Prop 116 results: Voters approve state income tax cut. Denver Post. https://www.denverpost.com/2020/11/03/colorado-pop-116-results-income-tax/ VIEW ALL FOOTNOTES

Effective tax rates vary across states, as each state has a unique tax base and structure. Figure 1 shows effective tax rates ranged from 5.6% in Tennessee to 10.5% in Hawaii.

  • States with above-average total resources and tax rates tend to fund higher education at higher rates. Of the eight states with both above-average TTR and effective tax rates (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and North Dakota), only Minnesota has below-average education appropriations per FTE.
  • States with a low tax rate and high total resources are less likely to provide above-average funding to higher education. Nine states had a below-average effective tax rate but above-average TTR. Of these states with higher tax capacity, only Alaska, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Wyoming provided above-average education appropriations per FTE in 2018.
  • Similarly, states with a high tax rate but low total resources are less likely to provide above-average funding to higher education. Thirteen states had an above-average effective tax rate and below-average TTR. Of these states with lower tax capacity, only Hawaii, Maine, and New Mexico provided above-average education appropriations per FTE in 2018.

State Spotlight : New Hampshire and Vermont

NH
VT

The neighboring New England states of New Hampshire and Vermont illustrate differences in state capacity to increase tax revenue to support higher education. In 2018, New Hampshire and Vermont provided the lowest and second-lowest amount of education appropriations per FTE in the country ($3,134 and $3,213), respectively. While the states have similar levels of state higher education support, they have very different effective tax rates. As seen in Figure 1, New Hampshire has the twelfth lowest effective tax rate (6.7%), and Vermont has the third highest effective tax rate (10.0%). Vermont collected nearly $1,100 more per capita in actual tax revenue than New Hampshire even though Vermont’s total taxable resources per capita were nearly $15,300 lower than New Hampshire’s. Because Vermont already has one of the highest effective tax rates, the state may not have the capacity to increase tax revenue that can be allocated to higher education; whereas New Hampshire, with higher total taxable resources and a lower effective tax rate, may have a greater capacity to increase higher education support.

Figure 1

Effective Tax Rates by State, FY 2018

Notes:
  1. Effective tax rates are calculated from actual tax revenues divided by total taxable resources.
  2. Actual tax revenues are state and local tax revenues.
  3. Total taxable resources equals the taxable gross state product (GDP).
  4. Effective tax rates are calculated from actual tax revenues divided by total taxable resources. Actual tax revenue (ATR) data are the total general revenues derived from taxation by state and local governments. Total taxable resources (TTR) are the unduplicated sum of the income flows produced within a state (gross state product) and the income flows received by its residents (state personal income) which a state can potentially tax, minus components presumed not taxable by the state plus various components of income derived from out-of-state sources.
Source(s):
  • State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
  • Actual tax revenues are from the U.S. Census Bureau 2018 Annual Surveys of State and Local Government Finances.
  • Total taxable resources are from the U.S. Treasury Department.
Table 1

Tax Capacity, Tax Revenues, and Effective Tax Rates by State, FY 2018

State Actual Tax Revenues (ATR) Index to U.S. Average Total Taxable Resources (TTR) Index to U.S. Average Effective Tax Rate (ATR/TTR) Index to U.S. Average
Alabama $3,526 0.66 $51,024 0.72 6.9% 0.91
Alaska $4,802 0.89 $77,295 1.09 6.2% 0.82
Arizona $3,817 0.71 $54,799 0.78 7.0% 0.92
Arkansas $4,130 0.77 $51,330 0.73 8.0% 1.06
California $6,797 1.27 $83,720 1.18 8.1% 1.07
Colorado $5,238 0.98 $73,636 1.04 7.1% 0.94
Connecticut $8,492 1.58 $96,986 1.37 8.8% 1.15
Delaware $5,515 1.03 $87,058 1.23 6.3% 0.83
Florida $3,947 0.73 $61,852 0.87 6.4% 0.84
Georgia $3,895 0.73 $61,866 0.88 6.3% 0.83
Hawaii $7,333 1.37 $70,117 0.99 10.5% 1.38
Idaho $3,852 0.72 $52,103 0.74 7.4% 0.97
Illinois $5,938 1.11 $76,744 1.09 7.7% 1.02
Indiana $4,093 0.76 $61,433 0.87 6.7% 0.88
Iowa $5,147 0.96 $67,392 0.95 7.6% 1.01
Kansas $5,185 0.97 $67,525 0.96 7.7% 1.01
Kentucky $3,967 0.74 $52,838 0.75 7.5% 0.99
Louisiana $4,377 0.81 $59,185 0.84 7.4% 0.97
Maine $5,543 1.03 $55,813 0.79 9.9% 1.31
Maryland $6,519 1.21 $81,834 1.16 8.0% 1.05
Massachusetts $6,987 1.30 $94,739 1.34 7.4% 0.97
Michigan $4,419 0.82 $59,524 0.84 7.4% 0.98
Minnesota $6,412 1.19 $72,605 1.03 8.8% 1.16
Mississippi $3,760 0.70 $44,031 0.62 8.5% 1.12
Missouri $3,967 0.74 $59,382 0.84 6.7% 0.88
Montana $4,257 0.79 $56,104 0.79 7.6% 1.00
Nebraska $5,354 1.00 $71,063 1.01 7.5% 0.99
Nevada $4,687 0.87 $66,768 0.94 7.0% 0.92
New Hampshire $5,261 0.98 $78,513 1.11 6.7% 0.88
New Jersey $7,405 1.38 $86,827 1.23 8.5% 1.12
New Mexico $4,128 0.77 $52,734 0.75 7.8% 1.03
New York $9,823 1.83 $96,663 1.37 10.2% 1.34
North Carolina $4,070 0.76 $59,642 0.84 6.8% 0.90
North Dakota $7,591 1.41 $79,334 1.12 9.6% 1.26
Ohio $4,635 0.86 $63,647 0.90 7.3% 0.96
Oklahoma $3,847 0.72 $56,935 0.81 6.8% 0.89
Oregon $4,949 0.92 $64,166 0.91 7.7% 1.02
Pennsylvania $5,464 1.02 $70,110 0.99 7.8% 1.03
Rhode Island $5,795 1.08 $70,083 0.99 8.3% 1.09
South Carolina $3,705 0.69 $53,047 0.75 7.0% 0.92
South Dakota $4,309 0.80 $68,009 0.96 6.3% 0.83
Tennessee $3,286 0.61 $58,848 0.83 5.6% 0.74
Texas $4,470 0.83 $68,309 0.97 6.5% 0.86
Utah $4,137 0.77 $61,782 0.87 6.7% 0.88
Vermont $6,329 1.18 $63,229 0.89 10.0% 1.32
Virginia $4,984 0.93 $73,107 1.03 6.8% 0.90
Washington $5,808 1.08 $85,289 1.21 6.8% 0.90
West Virginia $4,161 0.77 $49,783 0.70 8.4% 1.10
Wisconsin $5,011 0.93 $65,691 0.93 7.6% 1.00
Wyoming $5,063 0.94 $81,352 1.15 6.2% 0.82
U.S. $5,371 1.00 $70,702 1.00 7.6% 1.00
Notes:
  1. Effective tax rates are calculated from actual tax revenues divided by total taxable resources.
  2. Actual tax revenue (ATR) data are the per-capita general revenues derived from taxation by state and local governments.
  3. Total taxable resources equals the taxable gross state product (GDP) per capita.
Source(s):
  • State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
Map 1

Map of Allocation to Higher Education, FY 2018

Nationally, 5.6% of revenue was allocated to higher education in 2018. This represents a 1.0 percentage point decline from fiscal year 2008—the year the Great Recession began to impact state revenue collections and budgets. The percent of revenue allocated to higher education had never fallen below 6% until 2012. Since this time, the 5.9% of revenue allocated to higher education in 2017 represents the post-recession high mark. The Great Recession may have permanently changed the percent of funding allocated to higher education, as tax revenues have more than recovered to pre-recession levels, but higher education receives a smaller portion of the total revenue.

The decline in the allocation to higher education seen during the Great Recession followed a longer-term pattern in which state allocations to higher education have declined over time, despite steady increases in states’ total revenues (ATR and lottery profits). In 1980, the U.S. average allocation to higher education was 8.7%; in 2018 it had decreased by over a third to 5.6%. Meanwhile, ATR and lottery profits increased 81.1% from an inflation-adjusted $3,006 per capita ($681 billion) in 1980 to $5,443 per capita ($1.78 trillion) in 2018.

State Comparisons

Figure 2 shows the percent of revenue allocated to higher education ranged from 1.8% in New Hampshire to 13.9% in Wyoming. New Mexico (11.2%) and North Carolina (10.1%) were the only other states to allocate more than 10% of revenue to higher education, while Pennsylvania (2.6%) and Vermont (2.4%) were the only other states to allocate less than 3%.

In the last year, the allocation to higher education decreased in 41 states as ATR and lottery profits increased faster than state support for all higher education (Table 2).

The Great Recession adversely affected the percent of revenue allocated to higher education. Only three states (Alaska, Florida, and Wyoming) increased the portion of revenue allocated to higher education from 2008-2018. Of the 47 states with a lower allocation to higher education in 2018, 10 states lowered their allocation by at least two percentage points.

Between 2013 and 2018, many states began increasing funding for higher education after state economies recovered following the Great Recession, and 22 states increased the percent of revenue allocated to higher education (including Idaho and Nevada which were nearly flat). The largest increase was 4.1 percentage points in Alaska. However, in 28 states, the portion of revenue allocated to higher education continued to decline from 2013-2018 despite the strong economy. Five states saw declines greater than 1.0 percentage point, the largest of which was in Oklahoma (2.3 percentage points).

Figure 2

Percent of Tax and Lottery Revenues Allocated to Higher Education by State, FY 2018

Notes:
  1. Allocation to higher education is higher education support as a proportion of actual tax revenues and lottery profits.
  2. Higher education support is state and local tax and non-tax support for public and independent higher education, including special purpose appropriations for research-agriculture-medical.
  3. Actual tax revenue (ATR) data are the total general revenues derived from taxation by state and local governments.
  4. Lottery profits are the revenues from all lotto games and gaming operations, where applicable, that are transferred to beneficiaries.
Source(s):
  • State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
  • Actual tax revenues are from the U.S. Census Bureau 2018 Annual Surveys of State and Local Government Finances.
  • Lottery profits are from the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.
Table 2

Percent of Tax and Lottery Revenues Allocated to Higher Education by State, FY 2008-2018

State 2008 2013 2017 2018 Index to U.S. Average Change Since 2017 Change Since 2013 Change Since 2008
Alabama 14.0% 9.6% 9.6% 9.3% 1.65 -0.3 -0.3 -4.7
Alaska 3.1% 5.6% 11.7% 9.7% 1.73 -1.9 4.1 6.6
Arizona 8.6% 7.1% 7.0% 6.4% 1.14 -0.6 -0.7 -2.2
Arkansas 9.6% 9.6% 8.3% 8.1% 1.44 -0.2 -1.5 -1.4
California 7.2% 5.6% 6.7% 6.4% 1.14 -0.2 0.8 -0.8
Colorado 4.0% 3.0% 3.4% 3.3% 0.58 -0.2 0.2 -0.8
Connecticut 5.5% 4.2% 5.1% 4.4% 0.78 -0.7 0.2 -1.0
Delaware 6.1% 4.8% 4.8% 4.3% 0.76 -0.5 -0.5 -1.8
Florida 5.3% 4.9% 5.8% 5.9% 1.05 0.1 1.0 0.6
Georgia 8.6% 7.6% 8.1% 8.3% 1.47 0.2 0.6 -0.3
Hawaii 8.2% 6.5% 7.1% 6.9% 1.22 -0.2 0.3 -1.3
Idaho 8.5% 7.5% 7.6% 7.5% 1.33 -0.1 0.0 -1.0
Illinois 6.6% 7.3% 7.3% 6.5% 1.16 -0.8 -0.8 -0.1
Indiana 6.6% 6.2% 6.7% 6.4% 1.14 -0.3 0.2 -0.2
Iowa 7.9% 6.1% 5.8% 5.5% 0.98 -0.3 -0.6 -2.4
Kansas 8.5% 7.6% 7.4% 6.7% 1.19 -0.7 -0.9 -1.8
Kentucky 9.3% 7.7% 6.8% 6.7% 1.19 -0.1 -1.0 -2.6
Louisiana 8.8% 6.6% 5.3% 5.6% 1.00 0.3 -1.0 -3.2
Maine 4.5% 4.1% 4.2% 4.1% 0.72 -0.2 -0.1 -0.5
Maryland 6.6% 5.8% 6.0% 5.9% 1.05 -0.1 0.1 -0.7
Massachusetts 3.9% 3.2% 3.4% 3.3% 0.58 -0.1 0.1 -0.6
Michigan 6.8% 5.6% 5.6% 5.4% 0.97 -0.2 -0.1 -1.3
Minnesota 6.3% 4.3% 4.5% 4.6% 0.81 0.1 0.3 -1.7
Mississippi 11.9% 9.5% 9.7% 8.5% 1.52 -1.2 -1.0 -3.3
Missouri 5.7% 5.1% 4.9% 4.6% 0.83 -0.3 -0.4 -1.1
Montana 5.8% 5.4% 6.3% 5.5% 0.98 -0.8 0.1 -0.3
Nebraska 9.5% 9.1% 9.3% 8.9% 1.58 -0.5 -0.2 -0.7
Nevada 6.4% 5.0% 4.9% 5.0% 0.90 0.1 0.0 -1.3
New Hampshire 2.6% 1.5% 1.9% 1.8% 0.32 -0.1 0.3 -0.8
New Jersey 4.5% 4.1% 4.0% 3.7% 0.66 -0.2 -0.4 -0.8
New Mexico 14.3% 12.3% 11.4% 11.2% 2.00 -0.1 -1.1 -3.0
New York 3.9% 3.6% 3.7% 3.5% 0.63 -0.1 -0.1 -0.3
North Carolina 12.0% 11.0% 10.3% 10.1% 1.80 -0.1 -0.9 -1.9
North Dakota 8.0% 5.4% 8.3% 6.2% 1.10 -2.1 0.8 -1.8
Ohio 5.1% 4.4% 4.5% 4.5% 0.81 0.1 0.2 -0.6
Oklahoma 9.2% 8.0% 6.5% 5.7% 1.02 -0.8 -2.3 -3.4
Oregon 6.4% 4.9% 5.1% 5.1% 0.90 -0.1 0.2 -1.4
Pennsylvania 4.2% 2.9% 2.7% 2.6% 0.46 -0.1 -0.3 -1.6
Rhode Island 3.7% 2.8% 3.0% 3.1% 0.55 0.1 0.3 -0.6
South Carolina 9.4% 6.3% 6.4% 6.1% 1.08 -0.4 -0.2 -3.3
South Dakota 7.6% 6.4% 6.2% 6.0% 1.06 -0.3 -0.4 -1.6
Tennessee 8.5% 7.1% 7.8% 8.4% 1.49 0.6 1.3 -0.1
Texas 8.5% 7.6% 7.8% 7.1% 1.27 -0.6 -0.4 -1.4
Utah 8.7% 7.3% 7.8% 7.9% 1.40 0.1 0.5 -0.8
Vermont 3.1% 2.6% 2.5% 2.4% 0.43 -0.1 -0.2 -0.7
Virginia 5.7% 4.9% 5.0% 4.7% 0.84 -0.3 -0.2 -1.0
Washington 6.2% 4.5% 4.7% 4.3% 0.77 -0.4 -0.2 -1.8
West Virginia 8.0% 7.1% 6.3% 5.9% 1.05 -0.4 -1.2 -2.1
Wisconsin 7.4% 6.4% 6.0% 6.0% 1.06 0.0 -0.4 -1.4
Wyoming 8.9% 12.4% 15.2% 13.9% 2.47 -1.3 1.5 5.0
U.S. 6.6% 5.6% 5.9% 5.6% 1.00 -0.2 0.0 -1.0
Notes:
  1. Allocation to higher education is higher education support as a proportion of actual tax revenues and lottery profits.
  2. Higher education support is state and local tax and non-tax support for public and independent higher education, including special purpose appropriations for research-agriculture-medical.
  3. Actual tax revenue (ATR) data are the per-capita general revenues derived from taxation by state and local governments.
  4. Lottery profits are the revenues from all lotto games and gaming operations, where applicable, that are transferred to beneficiaries.
  5. Year change columns show percentage point increases or decreases, not percent change.
Source(s):
  • State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
Map 2

Map of Support Per Capita, FY 2019

Nationally, states allocated $318 per capita to higher education in 2019. Inflation-adjusted state support per capita has increased since the start of the SHEF dataset in 1980, when inflation-adjusted support totaled $266 per capita. Support per capita increased throughout the 1980s and has since generally followed the economic cycle, increasing and decreasing following economic peaks and troughs. While the 2019 support per capita represents a 2.1% increase over 2018 and a 7% increase over 2014 (Table 3), per capita support on a national level is down 8.5% when compared to the pre-recession high point of 2008.

State Comparisons

Figure 3 shows higher education support per capita ranged considerably across states in 2019, from $97 in New Hampshire to $749 in Wyoming. New Hampshire was the only state to provide less than $100 per capita support for higher education, while nine states provided more than $400 per capita. Hawaii and Wyoming were the only states that provided more than $500 in support for higher education.
From 2018 to 2019, support per capita decreased in 16 states (Table 3). The largest decline was in Kentucky (4.5%).

  • Between 2009 and 2019, 42 states reduced higher education support per capita. These reductions ranged from 0.6% in Rhode Island to 39% in Louisiana. In addition to Louisiana, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania decreased higher education support per capita by more than one-third. During this same time period, higher education support per capita increased in eight states, ranging from 1.7% in New York to 19.5% in California. No other state increased support per capita by more than 10% over the last decade.
  • As state economies recovered from the Great Recession between 2014 and 2019, 31 states increased higher education support per capita, ranging from 0.9% in Indiana to 35.8% in Hawaii. In addition to Hawaii, California, Colorado, and Rhode Island all increased higher education support per capita by at least 25%. Nineteen states reduced higher education support per capita between 2014 and 2019. These reductions ranged from 0.6% in Pennsylvania to 27.4% in Oklahoma. Alaska and North Dakota are the only other states with a decline greater than 15% since 2014.
Figure 3

Public Higher Education Support Per Capita by State, FY 2019

Notes:
  1. Higher education support is state and local tax and non-tax support for public and independent higher education, including special purpose appropriations for research-agriculture-medical. Federal stimulus funding is included in this figure.
  2. Constant dollars adjusted by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Source(s):
  • State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
  • Population data are from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Income Division.
Table 3

Public Higher Education Support Per Capita by State, FY 2009-2019 (Constant Dollars)

State 2009 2014 2018 2019 Index to U.S. Average % Change Since 2018 % Change Since 2014 % Change Since 2009
Alabama $397 $323 $333 $338 1.06 1.6% 4.9% -14.7%
Alaska $553 $587 $476 $483 1.52 1.4% -17.7% -12.6%
Arizona $386 $272 $251 $249 0.78 -0.8% -8.4% -35.5%
Arkansas $373 $376 $344 $342 1.08 -0.4% -9.0% -8.3%
California $394 $360 $448 $471 1.48 5.3% 30.9% 19.5%
Colorado $212 $149 $175 $187 0.59 7.3% 25.9% -11.7%
Connecticut $435 $384 $385 $398 1.25 3.4% 3.6% -8.4%
Delaware $326 $264 $250 $254 0.80 1.8% -3.6% -22.0%
Florida $263 $215 $243 $251 0.79 3.6% 17.1% -4.3%
Georgia $360 $298 $338 $346 1.09 2.4% 16.2% -4.0%
Hawaii $535 $405 $514 $550 1.73 7.0% 35.8% 2.7%
Idaho $330 $264 $296 $300 0.94 1.3% 13.4% -9.0%
Illinois $370 $427 $398 $399 1.25 0.3% -6.6% 7.8%
Indiana $302 $272 $270 $275 0.86 1.8% 0.9% -9.2%
Iowa $379 $311 $290 $291 0.91 0.5% -6.4% -23.2%
Kansas $425 $364 $355 $373 1.17 5.1% 2.5% -12.3%
Kentucky $358 $297 $273 $261 0.82 -4.5% -12.2% -27.1%
Louisiana $415 $262 $253 $253 0.80 -0.1% -3.2% -39.0%
Maine $242 $221 $231 $229 0.72 -0.6% 3.9% -5.3%
Maryland $403 $372 $405 $414 1.30 2.3% 11.3% 2.6%
Massachusetts $227 $214 $239 $241 0.76 1.1% 12.7% 6.3%
Michigan $314 $238 $250 $251 0.79 0.7% 5.4% -20.1%
Minnesota $351 $276 $300 $289 0.91 -3.6% 4.7% -17.7%
Mississippi $414 $371 $327 $327 1.03 -0.1% -11.9% -21.0%
Missouri $249 $196 $190 $189 0.59 -0.5% -3.6% -24.2%
Montana $257 $247 $239 $237 0.74 -0.9% -4.1% -7.6%
Nebraska $495 $475 $485 $484 1.52 -0.2% 1.9% -2.3%
Nevada $306 $215 $241 $243 0.76 0.9% 13.3% -20.5%
New Hampshire $125 $88 $98 $97 0.31 -0.7% 10.2% -22.4%
New Jersey $330 $301 $286 $308 0.97 7.8% 2.1% -6.7%
New Mexico $617 $507 $475 $490 1.54 3.3% -3.3% -20.5%
New York $360 $332 $361 $366 1.15 1.4% 10.1% 1.7%
North Carolina $493 $418 $426 $437 1.37 2.5% 4.6% -11.3%
North Dakota $455 $600 $480 $470 1.48 -2.0% -21.6% 3.4%
Ohio $271 $211 $218 $214 0.67 -1.9% 1.2% -20.9%
Oklahoma $359 $306 $225 $222 0.70 -1.1% -27.4% -38.0%
Oregon $273 $227 $265 $271 0.85 2.5% 19.4% -0.8%
Pennsylvania $220 $148 $146 $147 0.46 0.9% -0.6% -33.1%
Rhode Island $216 $171 $194 $215 0.68 10.9% 25.6% -0.6%
South Carolina $270 $218 $235 $236 0.74 0.5% 8.3% -12.6%
South Dakota $295 $264 $270 $275 0.86 1.8% 4.0% -6.7%
Tennessee $314 $262 $286 $298 0.94 4.0% 13.7% -5.2%
Texas $352 $340 $328 $325 1.02 -0.8% -4.5% -7.6%
Utah $340 $294 $332 $347 1.09 4.7% 18.4% 2.1%
Vermont $166 $160 $155 $154 0.49 -0.5% -3.5% -7.1%
Virginia $290 $234 $244 $251 0.79 3.2% 7.2% -13.3%
Washington $323 $241 $258 $268 0.84 3.9% 11.2% -17.3%
West Virginia $334 $301 $265 $274 0.86 3.4% -9.0% -17.9%
Wisconsin $396 $325 $307 $313 0.98 2.1% -3.6% -21.0%
Wyoming $775 $717 $717 $749 2.35 4.6% 4.5% -3.3%
U.S. $342 $297 $312 $318 1.00 2.1% 7.0% -7.0%
Notes:
  1. Higher education support is state and local tax and non-tax support for public and independent higher education, including special purpose appropriations for research-agriculture-medical. Federal stimulus funding is included in this figure.
  2. Constant 2019 dollars adjusted by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Source(s):
  • State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
Map 3

Map of Support Per $1,000 of Personal Income, FY 2019

In 2019, states allocated $5.64 for every $1,000 of personal income to higher education. This amount has been largely unchanged since state support per $1,000 of personal income hit a record low in 2012 at $5.85 and follows a long-term decline in support per $1,000 in personal income. In 1980, states provided an average of $8.44 per $1,000 to higher education. This amount has steadily declined over time, with some increases during past times of economic prosperity. However, support per $1,000 of personal income declined at a faster rate than previously seen during the Great Recession, and despite recent years of increases in funding for higher education, there has been no recovery in support on a personal income basis. Between 2008 and 2019, inflation-adjusted personal income increased 25.5%, while total state and local support for higher education decreased 1.2%.

State Comparisons

Figure 4 shows wide variation in higher education support per $1,000 of personal income across the states, ranging from $1.53 in New Hampshire to $12.05 in Wyoming. Pennsylvania and Vermont were the only other states to allocate less than $3 per $1,000 of personal income to support higher education. New Mexico was the only other state to allocate more than $10.

From 2018-2019, support per $1,000 decreased in over half of states (28). The largest decrease was 5.7% in Kentucky. Of the 22 states with year-over-year increases in state support for higher education per $1,000 in personal income, the largest increases were in New Jersey (6.2%) and Rhode Island (9.9%).

Between 2009 and 2019 no state increased higher education support per $1,000 of personal income (Table 4).

  • The 7.8% decline in Maryland was the smallest and the only state that did not have at least a 10% decline on this measure.
  • In 36 states, higher education support per $1,000 of personal income decreased by 20% or more.
  • Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania had the largest declines, each more than 44%.
  • State support relative to personal income declined by at least one-third in seven other states (Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Washington).

Higher education support per $1,000 of personal income fared slightly better between 2014 and 2019 as many states increased higher education support. Yet, higher education support continued to decline relative to personal income in three-quarters of states during this time period.

  • Twelve states increased higher education support per $1,000 of personal income, ranging from 0.6% in Utah to 21.5% in Hawaii.
  • While Hawaii was the only state to increase higher education support by more than 20% on this measure, California, Colorado, and Rhode Island each increased higher education support by more than 10%.
  • Of the 38 states that reduced higher education support relative to personal income between 2014 and 2019, 16 (42%) had at least a 10% decline.
  • The largest declines were in Oklahoma (24.6%) and Alaska (21%).
Figure 4

Public Higher Education Support Per $1,000 of Personal Income by State, FY 2019

Notes:
  1. Higher education support is state and local tax and non-tax support for public and independent higher education, including special purpose appropriations for research-agriculture-medical. Federal stimulus funding is included in this figure.
Source(s):
  • State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
  • Personal income data are from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Income Division.
Table 4

Public Higher Education Support Per $1,000 of Personal Income by State, FY 2009-2019

State 2009 2014 2018 2019 Index to U.S. Average % Change Since 2018 % Change Since 2014 % Change Since 2009
Alabama $10 $8 $8 $8 1.36 -1.0% -4.4% -24.9%
Alaska $10 $10 $8 $8 1.36 -2.3% -21.0% -22.0%
Arizona $10 $7 $6 $5 0.96 -2.8% -17.9% -44.2%
Arkansas $10 $9 $8 $8 1.36 -1.7% -15.7% -23.7%
California $8 $6 $7 $7 1.26 2.3% 11.0% -10.1%
Colorado $4 $3 $3 $3 0.54 4.4% 12.7% -31.2%
Connecticut $6 $5 $5 $5 0.91 4.1% -3.8% -15.3%
Delaware $7 $5 $5 $5 0.83 -0.1% -12.1% -30.6%
Florida $6 $5 $5 $5 0.85 0.7% 4.0% -20.4%
Georgia $9 $7 $7 $7 1.27 0.5% 3.5% -19.2%
Hawaii $11 $8 $9 $10 1.71 5.9% 21.5% -11.2%
Idaho $9 $6 $7 $7 1.16 -1.5% 1.0% -26.4%
Illinois $8 $8 $7 $7 1.20 -1.2% -15.1% -10.2%
Indiana $7 $6 $6 $6 1.00 0.4% -8.0% -24.2%
Iowa $9 $6 $6 $6 1.00 -1.1% -12.7% -34.5%
Kansas $9 $7 $7 $7 1.24 3.1% -2.9% -23.6%
Kentucky $9 $7 $6 $6 1.06 -5.7% -18.5% -36.2%
Louisiana $10 $6 $5 $5 0.95 -0.9% -6.0% -44.2%
Maine $5 $5 $5 $5 0.80 -2.3% -7.4% -17.4%
Maryland $7 $6 $6 $6 1.14 2.1% 1.7% -7.8%
Massachusetts $4 $3 $3 $3 0.58 -0.5% -1.7% -13.0%
Michigan $8 $5 $5 $5 0.91 0.8% -4.8% -34.2%
Minnesota $7 $5 $5 $5 0.87 -4.1% -3.5% -31.6%
Mississippi $12 $10 $8 $8 1.49 -1.1% -15.6% -27.8%
Missouri $6 $4 $4 $4 0.69 -0.6% -10.6% -32.8%
Montana $6 $5 $5 $5 0.84 -3.6% -12.8% -24.2%
Nebraska $11 $9 $9 $9 1.57 -0.7% -1.2% -16.1%
Nevada $7 $5 $5 $5 0.84 -1.3% -0.8% -33.2%
New Hampshire $2 $2 $2 $2 0.27 -2.4% -1.3% -34.6%
New Jersey $6 $5 $4 $4 0.77 6.2% -8.2% -20.9%
New Mexico $16 $13 $11 $11 2.01 1.0% -10.4% -28.5%
New York $6 $5 $5 $5 0.91 -1.1% -6.0% -20.1%
North Carolina $12 $10 $9 $9 1.62 0.8% -5.3% -20.8%
North Dakota $10 $10 $9 $8 1.46 -3.4% -16.7% -14.7%
Ohio $6 $5 $4 $4 0.76 -3.1% -6.9% -33.3%
Oklahoma $9 $6 $5 $5 0.83 -1.7% -24.6% -44.9%
Oregon $6 $5 $5 $5 0.90 -0.2% 3.0% -21.1%
Pennsylvania $5 $3 $3 $3 0.45 -0.5% -10.4% -44.5%
Rhode Island $4 $3 $3 $4 0.68 9.9% 15.9% -14.3%
South Carolina $7 $5 $5 $5 0.92 -1.6% -3.2% -27.3%
South Dakota $6 $5 $5 $5 0.90 0.3% -2.2% -18.8%
Tennessee $8 $6 $6 $6 1.09 2.0% 2.9% -20.5%
Texas $8 $7 $6 $6 1.09 -3.7% -9.6% -23.5%
Utah $9 $7 $7 $7 1.26 0.9% 0.6% -20.9%
Vermont $3 $3 $3 $3 0.50 -0.8% -9.9% -19.4%
Virginia $6 $4 $4 $4 0.75 1.8% -1.5% -23.6%
Washington $6 $4 $4 $4 0.73 1.3% -4.4% -36.1%
West Virginia $9 $8 $6 $6 1.15 1.7% -16.0% -27.5%
Wisconsin $9 $7 $6 $6 1.04 0.7% -12.1% -32.6%
Wyoming $15 $12 $12 $12 2.14 3.3% 2.9% -19.0%
U.S. $7 $6 $6 $6 1.00 0.2% -3.8% -23.0%
Notes:
  1. Higher education support is state and local tax and non-tax support for public and independent higher education, including special purpose appropriations for research-agriculture-medical. Federal stimulus funding is included in this figure.
Source(s):
  • State Higher Education Executive Officers Association